Declan Rice has enjoyed a breakthrough season with West Ham and is fast emerging as the best young CDM in the Premier League. The 20-year-old’s performances have caught the eye of manager Manuel Pellegrini and he is arguably the first name on the team sheet at the moment. These mature and composed displays have West Ham fans backing Rice to enjoy a glittering career but the question is what will the youngster do when the inevitable bid for him arrives?
Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports:
“You look at players like Fernandinho at Manchester City and they must be looking at Declan Rice thinking “he’s the next one” because it’s so hard to find good players in that position.”
Would Rice be a good signing, blues? pic.twitter.com/nTAPYdzj9g
— City Watch (@City_Watch) January 12, 2019
The prying eyes looking into East London like what they see and it is already being said that Spurs could be lining up a £35 million raid for Rice in the summer. Could Rice be tempted away from the London Stadium? Many will argue that it isn’t up to him but rather the club to decide whether they would accept a bid for him and for all intents and purposes, that is true. History would also tell us, however, that when a player’s head is turned, the wise and also inevitable decision is to cash in.
This is all hypothetical, of course, and Rice has been nothing but a consummate professional for the Hammers thus far. So there shouldn’t be any reason to believe he will want to go when the bids begin to arrive and arrive they will make no mistake. Only, if we’re being incredibly cynical, the ongoing issue as to who he will give his international allegiance to does make one wonder about his sense of loyalty.
It’s a complex situation for Rice at international level after he represented the Irish national team on three occasions but still has the chance to turn out for England. His emergence onto the Premier League scene has Gareth Southgate and Mick McCarthy courting his every step. At the end of the day, who can blame Rice if he feels more English than Irish having been born in London? There are easier decisions to make in life and he shouldn’t be judged too harshly for taking his time but it does get you thinking and maybe even fearing the worst for West Ham.
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) January 14, 2019
There could be a worry that if Rice is unable to stick with the country that he first played for then he may not hang about should a more lucrative offer come in for him at club level. Liverpool are also said to be looking at Rice and if Naby Keita carries on battling to fit into Klopp’s plans then you can be sure they will look elsewhere for that position to be filled, especially if the Reds fall short to Man City in the title race.
West Ham could give Liverpool a boost in the title race when they head to the Etihad on the 26th of February for Pellegrini’s’ homecoming but Rice will need to be at his best to ensure Guardiola’s men don’t run riot against the Hammers again which is becoming all too familiar. The English Premier League predictions by Betfair show that the Citizens have scored ten goals against West Ham in their last three league encounters and after thumping a hapless Chelsea 6-0, the writing could be on the wall.
It won’t matter too much in the greater scheme of things with the Hammers looking like they will finish somewhere in the middle of the pack this season.
What does matter is the future of Declan Rice given this is a player that can inspire West Ham to become more consistent which will see them challenging for the top six. He’s a super character and a leader, the type of individual that you can build your team around and in West Ham’s case, begin reaching the heights the fans have set for the team.